This Sunday October 25th we read the Gospel of the Parable of the Rich man and Lazarus. (Luke 16:19-31), prescribed for the 5th Sunday of Luke. Jesus taught us many great truths with stories and illustrations called parables.
In this parable Jesus contrasts the seemingly uncaring rich man and the desperately needy Lazarus. The story of a rich man and a poor man in which there is hardly any personal contact between the two men.
This situation drastically changes in heaven though, but then it is already too late for any restoration of relations. In both individuals the contrast is astonishing. What is Our Lord teaching us?
Firstly He is teaching us about wealth, poverty and human relationships. We ask did wealth send the rich man to hell? The answer is no. Did poverty send Lazarus to heaven? No, definitely not. Neither wealth nor poverty of themselves can send one to heaven or hell. Rather the decisive matter is how one lives in wealth or poverty, and how one goes about gaining wealth or protecting oneself against losing it.
The rich man would not have gone to hell if love had filled his heart for God and his fellow man. Likewise Lazarus would not have gone to heaven if his heart had been filled with hate for the uncaring rich man, with resentment about his condition against God and with evils because as it says in the Gospels, “the pure in heart …shall see God”. (Mt. 5:8) God’s love was in Lazarus heart who endured his affliction with humility and trust in God. The name Lazarus actually means, “God is my helper”.
The second point of this parable is that heaven and hell are far more permanent realities than our journey here on earth. The point being that we should, “be concerned above everything else with the kingdom of God and with what He requires”, of us (Matt. 6:33). Our life on earth is short compared to the importance and duration of eternal life!
So my dear brothers and sisters, our short journey on earth provides us with the unique opportunity to prepare for our eternal journey in God’s kingdom, “where there is neither sickness, nor sorrow nor sighing but life everlasting.”
This week we also commemorate: Great Martyr Demetrius, St. Job of Pochaev. St. Dimitry Rostov, St. Arseny, St. Paraskevia and Ven. Martyr Anastasia.
Through the prayers of the Holy Saints pray unto God for us!